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Overall Rating

Awesome: 0%
Worth A Look: 2.33%
Average: 16.28%
Pretty Bad: 9.3%
Total Crap72.09%

5 reviews, 13 user ratings

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by William Goss

"Not So Super After All"
1 stars

Let’s tackle the obvious right now. Even with disregard to the preceding superior teenage superhero tales of the past few years, namely the likes of 'X-Men,' 'The Incredibles,' and 'Sky High,' Tim Allen’s latest family film, 'Zoom,' would still rank as a supremely unimpressive effort in this subgenre, no matter when released.

A quartet of unique youngsters – super-strong six-year-old Cindy Collins (Ryan Newman), expandable twelve-year-old Tucker Williams (Spencer Breslin, who costarred with Allen in March’s equally pathetic Shaggy Dog remake as well as the Santa Clause films), telekinetic sixteen-year-old Summer Jones (Kate Mara), and invisible seventeen-year-old Dylan West (Michael Cassidy) – are placed under the reluctant tutelage of Jack Shepard, a.k.a. former speedster Captain Zoom (Allen), when his banished brother, Connor / Concussion (Kevin Zegers), threatens to return from an alternate dimension and wreak havoc.

Director Peter Hewitt (the first Garfield film, The Borrowers) and writers Adam Rifkin (Mousehunt, Small Soldiers) and David Berenbaum (Elf, The Haunted Mansion) obviously have the family-friendly pedigree to adapt Jason Lethcoe’s novel, whose description does in fact bear greater resemblance to Sky High than they would probably like. As such, gone is the campus in the clouds, replaced instead by Area 52, where the U.S. Department of Defense trains gifted individuals, including the above-mentioned, to help hone their abilities and then protect mankind as the Zenith Team. However, something’s just a bit off when the simulation room consists of spinning platforms and shooting paintballs, while the hanger next door houses a flying saucer, almost as if Spy Kids was exposed to nuclear radiation. In fact, almost everything about the world of Zoom seems askew, from the mucus and flatulence gags to Mr. Pibb, the pointless pet robot. Instead of serious or campy, the cast and crew seems instead to aim for a juvenile approach that only proves entertaining to those audience members whose age and/or brain cell count happens to be above single digits.

Allen’s weary performance might not be all acting, but he does employ the slightest sense of sarcasm to make matters a bit more bearable for the older viewers. However, a deficit of irony amongst the other actors certainly don’t help matters. Rip Torn’s military official croaks orders as expected, Courteney Cox’s flustered love interest proves clumsy at being clumsy, and when Allen’s first line to Chevy Chase’s nerdy scientist is “Wow, you got old!,” one wonders how much else of the dialogue was unscripted. Mara and Cassidy manage not to overdo the snarky teenage angst and look equally pretty doing it, while Breslin – even more evidently padded for a belly than his talented sister was in Little Miss Sunshine – and Newman prove to be shrilly irritating between his constant lisp, her particularly noxious voice, and their combined whining. Zegers does the baddie bit as well as anyone could hope, although his glaringly red eyes simultaneously scream out “post-production” and “Visine.” At least that way, we know he’s supposed to be evil.

Once the sloppy prologue is out of the way, the story proceeds in an entirely predictable fashion with minimal momentum, a series of empty training montages buffered with collective bickering until the bland climax, where each character gets their single shot to showcase their abilities against the villain, the appearance of whom is underwhelming if only in its brevity. Meanwhile, sparks fly, pratfalls occur, and not-so-secrets are revealed (the inevitable untapped power of one person turns out to be… rainbow glitter breath?!?). All the while, matters are accompanied by a passé soundtrack composed of Smash Mouth, Jimmy Eat World, Enrique Iglesias (that’s right – “Hero”) and Five for Fighting (you guessed it – “Superman,” who is himself name checked, along with a few of his fictional peers, as if to remind viewers that are more substantial characters and stories to be found elsewhere).

There’s even a Sixth Sense reference to keep things just as fresh and hip. One could even argue that the early auditions taking place before a trio of judges may have been modeled on a rather popular reality contest, or that Zoom’s climactic costume resembles that of Matt LeBlanc’s character in that Lost in Space remake, or that Gamma 13 radiation sounds an awful lot like the Omega 13 device from Allen’s own Galaxy Quest, while the desert scenery of the showdown seems an awful lot like the similar location of a portion of the same film, but one can get awfully bogged down by the task of pointing out just what story or scenery element was taken from what other movie. There are still a handful of scenes that feel undeleted from the DVD release, most notably a makeshift baseball match that lacks sensible context and the barest of payoffs, in an effort to drag out the film’s supershort running time of 83 minutes.

The best that can be said of 'Zoom' is that the visual effects are suitable for the most part, although the near opposite can be said for the audio end, as Hewitt and the gang employ the slide whistle and just about every other wacky and inane sound effect known to man. Then again, such a hodgepodge seems to be fitting with the diluted yet chunky blend of teenage superhero and teamwork clichés that make it to the screen. Hell, I’m sure that, if you listen closely enough as you roll your eyes towards the ceiling, you can hear a kitchen sink hit the back wall. That is, unless Disney thought of it first.

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originally posted: 08/12/06 13:51:40
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User Comments

11/03/07 Tiffany Losco I liked it, But I like movies like this. 4 stars
8/07/07 Charles Tatum Allen's good for some laughs, but watch Sky High instead 2 stars
5/17/07 ES This makes the Fantastic Four look like Spiderman in comparison 1 stars
3/10/07 Jenn Stupid, pointless, lacking in emotion, character development, and plot. 1 stars
2/09/07 Donald It could of been really awesome -the kids -the script 1 stars
10/21/06 Jenna Furr Heck no, brianorndorf -- Tim Allen's no worse than the rest of it! 2 stars
10/20/06 Gretchen Seitz Mostly a random collection of annoyances. 2 stars
8/27/06 Jonah Holy crap this one sucked. 1 stars
8/19/06 ggg Gross and stupid, characters are empty, misses the magic of Sky High 1 stars
8/18/06 KAREN MATLOCK yuck ! 1 stars
8/15/06 Wilber Post Fire the Director & Editor!! 1 stars
8/12/06 KingNeutron Director rates a D-Minus, Cox is looking OLD - but "Cindy" is adorable. Wait for the DVD. 2 stars
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  11-Aug-2006 (PG)
  DVD: 13-Feb-2007



Directed by
  Peter Hewitt

Written by
  Adam Rifkin
  David Berenbaum

  Tim Allen
  Courteney Cox
  Chevy Chase
  Spencer Breslin
  Rip Torn
  Kate Mara

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